I liked this book but I think it could be tighter. The first person narrative throughout the book becomes tiresome after a while, and it seems like 90 percent of the book is Stoce's internal dialog and lessons about thieving, intersperced with very occasional three-sentence dialogs and action - said action always being described in detail by Stoce's internal dialog, almost always by his homilies on details of the precise tricks of the trade.
I suggest the author consider revising, and having some chapters from other characters' viewpoints. I'd love to hear what's going on with Greaze from his point of view when he's out of Stoce's presence, rather than Stoce either guessing or telling us afterwards. It would be very interesting to know more about the paladin using him as the viewpoint character.
It would also be an improvement to find a way to have the thieving tricks - which are very interesting - described or implied rather than narrated.
Lois McMaster Bujold is a great example of mixing different viewpoint characters, especially in Komarr and A Civil Campaign.
I do like very much that the protagonist actually feels the effects of the various fights that he gets in, although my feeling while reading the last third of the book was that there was no way that he could expend all that energy based on eating a few biscuts here an there. Feed these two, for heaven's sake!
I like both Ashes to Ashes and Dust to Dust. It's a lot of fun because the books take place in the 1980s, making it almost a period piece. No cell phones, no internet - so if you want info, you have to go to a place and look at a piece of paper - it all adds to the suspense and the plot. I am married to a Brit, and I'm pretty neurotic while he's quite well-adjusted, so all the culture-clash (both in country and family experience) is very rich and enjoyable. These are a great mix of mystery, romance and ghostie things.
Tight plotting, suspense, romance, history and a healthy dose of humor as well. I stayed up way late to finish this.
As a bonus I'm learning a lot about archeology from Ms. Carl, along with all the romance and suspense and stuff. Her books have so many levels and layers that they will stand up to several re-readings.
The book gets four stars for plot and two stars for character development. Everyone other than Jeremy and PO Salter might just as well be cardboard.
Also, please do not think that if you read this book that you will know what autistic people are like. Jermey doesn't have a "form of autism." Jeremy does have developmental delays, but so do people with Downs, with mental retardation and a hundred other conditions.
People do not develop autism as a result of an illness. Autism is present from birth and it is a difference in brain structure. If it's not present from birth, it's not autism. If he could speak till he was 10, and lost his speech because of an illness, that's not autism.
Jeremy's rich language-based thinking is not at all consistent with autism. That would be why, in the words of the author, "it appears like autism but we never got a definitive diagnosis."
I would like to see the "autism" tag removed. It's inappropriate.
When the disgraced archeologist finds the tomb of the ancient Egyptian sorceress he and his friends go traveling. They explore different places and times, but the author doesn't handle transitions well so the novel seems quite disjointed. This book would be better if the author would take the time to develop the characters and their backgrounds and motivations, rather than just forging ahead excitedly with the cool plots. Unfortunately a lot of the sections seem gimmicky; if they were fleshed out and more subtle this would be a very enjoyable book.
I almost put this down several times because the exploits of the girl of the present seemed over-the-top. But about from about the halfway mark to the end it was very engrossing.
I love the British vernacular, but I do wish that there weren't so many missing words and totally wrong words:
"The young man on the horse galloped passed us."
"The rider dismounted and handed the reins to a tall young man dressed shorts, a beach vest and flip flops."
"Jack and me will provide technical support and muscle."
If you don't see anything wrong with these sentences you'll be just fine.
I read Deep Crossing, the second Adrian Tarn book first, before I found that it was a series. Usually I dislike that, because I don't like knowing some of what's already happened.
However, I loved Fatal Boarding anyway. I love books with well-developed characters that you can envision and care about, and ER Mason is really good at this. Adrian Tarn is great character and I really hope to see more books in this series.